You may best know Betz White from her books, Warm Fuzzies and Sewing Green, but Betz has just come out with a new line of original textile designs printed on organic fabrics. I sat down with Betz to learn more about her fabrics, how she got her start and what inspires her in an interview for this week’s Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx.
1. What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?
Betz White Productions is my business name, under which I create unique designs and products including one of a kind home accessories, whimsical felted wool items and a new line of original textile designs printed on organic fabrics.
I spent the first 15 years of my post-college career designing kids clothing for several large apparel manufacturers. I left the corporate design world early in 2005 to pursue freelance design work & spend more time with my kids. I enjoyed working from home, but often felt isolated and missed interacting with other creative individuals over the age of 5.
At the time, I was just getting into reading craft blogs and became aware of the rising indie craft movement. In an effort to connect with the crafting community, I decided to participate in the No Coast Craft-o-rama in Minneapolis, MN. I debuted my line of felted wool accessories created from recycled sweaters. The show was very well attended and my work got a great response. Over the course of the next year, I got my own website, started a blog and opened an etsy shop. Shortly thereafter, I started writing my first book, Warm Fuzzies, which came out in 2007. My newest book, Sewing Green was released in the spring of 2009.
2. What are your inspirations in your art and life?
The source of inspiration is such a difficult thing for me to pinpoint. All day long I fill up on images from everywhere: the Internet, nature, books, even the grocery store! I may or may not actively take note of anything in particular. Later, an idea for a design or a color palette, will bubble up out of that mixed-up “stew” of inspiration. I have my best ideas in the shower or when I am waking up in the morning. I have sketchbooks and notepads on my nightstand, in my purse and all over the house ready for that spark of an idea.
3. What’s your favorite comfort food and why?
Hmmm, I don’t know, maybe homemade chocolate chip cookies? Warm and sweet always wins with me.
4. What’s something you’ve learned as an adult that you wish you knew as a kid?
Everything comes around sooner or later. No matter what it is, big or small, someday it’ll be your turn. The key is knowing that almost nothing stays the same and to accept the things that do.
5. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
As my blog reading has increased, my magazine reading has decreased. (sorry magazines!)
My favorite magazines are: Family Fun, Selvedge and Marie Claire Idees.
Favorite Shops: I’m afraid I’ve pared down my shopping a bit as well! I always check Etsy first when shopping for gifts. For myself, I love poking around Anthropologie for inspiration. Other than that, I’m all about thrift stores, yarn shops and flea markets!
6. What are you reading, watching and listening to?
Reading—I hesitate to admit it, but I am not a big book reader. I do love books, especially how-to and reference books. I flip through them “grazing” and gathering what I need. Somehow I never just sit and read for pleasure, I’d much rather knit!
Watching—We recently canceled our cable TV and now watch things exclusively on Hulu. My favorites are The Daily Show and The Office. My sons are into old shows from my childhood such as Flipper and Pink Panther, which warms my heart every time I hear the theme songs.
Listening—I am a HUGE podcast fan! I love to listen while I work. I feel like I learn so much from podcasts, I look forward to them every week. Here are my favorites: This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, The Moth, Radio Lab, Craftypod & Craftsanity.
7. What’s new? Any products or projects you’d like to share?
My big news is that I’ve recently launched a line of original textile designs printed on organic fabrics. This is something that I’ve intended to do long before the release of my book Sewing Green and I am so proud of myself for finally making it happen. My designs are professionally printed in the US on organic fabrics. The digital printing process utilizes water-based, non-toxic pigment dyes and minimizes waste and water consumption. Heat and pressure are used to finish the fabric instead of harsh chemicals. In addition, I’m very excited about using print-on-demand technology in an effort to prevent fabric waste. It allows me to print only what is needed and not end up with a large inventory of unwanted material.